France harnesses horse power to recycle waste

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

Could the horse and cart be the new face of recycling?

horse-and-cart-recycling A growing number of Fren towns are ditching the dustcart, the diesel-powered noisy and smelly, and not just from the smell of the garbage, trucks, and have begun collecting household and garden waste by use of horse and cart.

No exhaust fumes and instead of the noise of a heavy truck there is the clip-clop of horses' hooves.

Around 60 towns in France have started using horse-drawn carts to collect waste in order to reduce pollution, lower costs and limit noise. One of them is the town of Saint-Prix outside Paris, where horses and carts are being used to collect garden refuse.

This form of municipal refuse collection is, according to the mayor of one town, not just greener but also considerably and significantly cheaper that the conventional diesel-powered dustcart.

The mayor said that despite the costs of the upkeep of the horses they save money. It used to cost them 107 Euro per ton of waste but now this cost is down to less than 40 Euro since using the horse for collecting household and garden waste and sending it to the composting facilities.

The horse also manages to win new converts to recycling and here especially children who love coming out to stroke the horse.

Not every town maybe suitable for horses and carts, it is reckoned. But, did we not use horse and cart for collection of rubbish before, and that almost everywhere?

Housing estates with flat terrain and old town centers are best and it is difficult to cover a circuit of more than twenty kilometers, that is to say, about twelve or so miles, in a day. But, in those towns in France were this old way is in use it seems to be working and working well indeed.

So, could this scene from the past become a vision of the things to come and part of the urban and suburban landscape of the future. I must say that I, certainly, hope so.

© 2010